«ABSTRACT Title of Dissertation: TYRANT! TIPU SULTAN AND THE RECONCEPTION OF BRITISH IMPERIAL IDENTITY, 1780-1800 Michael Soracoe, Doctor of ...»
The most controversial aspect of the treaty was the way in which Cornwallis sought to guarantee the peace. Written into the treaty was the following clause: "Until the due performance of the three foregoing articles [territorial exchange, indemnity payment, and prisoner release] two of the sons of the said Tippoo Sultaun shall be detained as Cornwallis to Tippoo Sultaun 16 January 1792 (p. 289-90) IOR/H/252 Cornwallis to Tippoo Sultaun, Definitive Treaty of Peace 17 March 1792 (p.312-25) IOR/H/252 hostages."49 The use of hostages during diplomatic negotiations was common during the eighteenth century, but the taking of young children certainly was not, nor was it at all ordinary to hold the family members of heads of state in virtual captivity for years after the signing of peace. During the negotiations that led up to the treaty, this was the term to which Tipu objected the most strenuously, even more so than surrendering Mysorean territory. Tipu's emissary Ghulam Ali related how "Tipu from a sense of shame at being reduced to so low an ebb, would be extremely loath to part with them [his sons]", and a few days later his negotiators "demanded if two or three of Tippoo's principal and most confidential Officers would not be taken," instead of Tipu's sons, which Cornwallis rejected.50 The insistence of Cornwallis on taking Tipu's young sons as hostages, rather than some other members of Tipu's court, remains a mystery.
measures would serve to contain him.52 The hostage princes were held by the Company in Madras for the next two years, and only returned to Tipu when the massive indemnity specified in the treaty was paid in full. The spectacle of the princes also aroused considerable interest from the British public in the metropole, and was commemorated in the popular art and theatre of the day.53 Cornwallis himself received universal accolade for his military victory in India.
The public uncertainty and unpopularity that had existed during the course of the war evaporated immediately upon its successful conclusion. Cornwallis had always remained a popular figure in the public eye, even when the war against Tipu was faring poorly, and his triumph over Tipu ensured that he would be celebrated as a hero throughout the British Empire. He was awarded the Freedom of the City of London, voted the official congratulations of both the Lords and Commons, promoted to the peerage, and feted with a massive celebration on his return to the capital in 1794.54 The peace treaty itself was not quite so universally popular as Cornwallis himself, although a strong majority of the public gave their approval. The general consensus was that the war had been extremely well prosecuted, and the treaty itself an example of Cornwallis' fairness and moderation in victory, but opinion was split as to whether the conflict should have been prosecuted to Tipu's final defeat and destruction. Nonetheless, it was difficult for even the harshest critics of the East India Company to object to the results of the conflict. The Third Mysore War reversed the Company's fortunes in southern India, greatly weakening the power of Tipu's Mysore while enriching the British in the process, and all without Cornwallis to Directors, Conclusion of Treaty with Tipu Sultan 5 April 1792 (p. 91-107) IOR/H/251 p.
94, for one such example.
See Chapter 3 World (London, England) 5 October 1792, Issue 1800; World (London, England) 7 April 1794, Issue suffering any of the military disasters of the previous conflict. Desperately seeking a way to offset his losses, Tipu turned to the one power that could potentially oppose the rising strength of the British Company: an alliance with the French.
The Fourth Mysore War (1799) The years following the return of the hostage princes to Tipu were once again tense and uncertain for the servants of Company in India. Lord Cornwallis returned home in 1793 and was replaced as Governor General by Sir John Shore, a longtime Company servant entirely lacking the forceful personality of his predecessors and successor. Shore did not come from an aristocratic family, and his administration was reminiscent of earlier periods when men from more humble and commercial backgrounds were in charge of the Company's Indian affairs. Shore was content to make few adjustments to the administrative systems put into place by Cornwallis, and had no interest in wars of conquest. His five years as Governor General (1793-98) were largely uneventful and unexciting, characterized by a policy of non-intervention into the affairs of other Indian states - a policy which would be thoroughly repudiated by Lord Wellesley, the man to follow him in office.55 Nevertheless, there remained a great deal of uncertainty regarding Tipu Sultan, in particular whether he would choose to ally himself with the cause of the French. Without the benefit of hindsight, the policy-makers of the Company were never entirely sure whether or not Tipu was planning to initiate another round of warfare in southern India.
The fear of Tipu joining with the French, at the time in the midst of their own turbulent revolutionary period, remained a bogeyman haunting the minds of Company servants.
W. H. Hutton, "Tipu Sultan" in H.H Dodwell. The Cambridge History of India, Vol. 5 (1963, 1929): 338 Pro-imperial historians have been highly critical of Shore's passivity; at the time, Wellesley treated him with thinly disguised contempt, due at least in part to Shore's family background.
Repeated false rumors of war with Tipu, always linked in some way to an alliance with France, permeated discussions of Indian affairs in 1797 and 1798, reflecting the overall uncertainty of the period.56 Tipu was indeed considering the possibility of an alliance with France, in the hopes that it would allow him to restore the lost territory from the previous war. The path towards this French alliance began with an unlikely source. A French privateer and adventurer named Francois Ripaud landed at the port of Mangalore in 1797 seeking an audience with Tipu. Ripaud led Tipu to believe that he had been sent as an envoy from the French colony of Mauritius, on a small island in the Indian Ocean, promising the arrival of a large French contingent of soldiers which would join with the Sultan to expel the British from India. Tipu's ministers correctly deduced that Ripaud was a fraud who had no real backing from the French colonial government, which should have been the end of this escapade. Nevertheless, Tipu accepted the false promises of Ripaud and began planning his own embassy to Mauritius in response. Tipu's desire for revenge and desperate search for allies against the British Company appear to have overridden more sensible judgment and led him into this poor decision. The contemporary Indian historian Mir Hussain Kirmani wrote afterwards in 1802 that "the Sultan in certain matters frequently acted precipitately and without thought, and in these cases would attend to no representation, even from his most faithful servants," specifically referring to Tipu's unwise decision to trust Ripaud as an example of poor judgment.57 Tipu chose to ignore General Evening Post (London, England) 23 December 1797, Issue 10177 & Lloyd’s Evening Post (London, England) 25 December 1797, Issue 6294 Mir Hussain Ali Khan Kirmani. History of Tipu Sultan, Being a Continuation of the Neshani Hyduri 1958 [2nd ed.] (London: Printed for the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, first translated 1842, written 1802): 119 the advice of his advisors and actively pursue the assistance of this phantom force of French soldiers, which would have grave consequences for the Sultan.
Tipu sent a group of ambassadors to Mauritius in 1797 to negotiate the terms of this alliance with France, intending their mission to be kept strictly secret. Instead, the French Governor Malartic publicly welcomed the ambassadors with a great show of pageantry, and then foolishly issued a public proclamation calling for citizens to come and serve in Tipu's military.58 In the end, the mission failed to provide anything more than token French support for Tipu's cause, while giving away his intentions of working closely together with Britain's most dire antagonist. Tipu's repeated requests for military assistance from the French would be in vain. His embassy to Mauritius gained him nothing, while simultaneously revealing all of his most secret negotiations. Tipu did not have an alliance with France, and did not have any substantial number of French soldiers, but had given ample justification to associate himself with Britain's military enemies.
This would be used by the new Governor General as the pretext for the Fourth Mysore War.
Sir John Shore was replaced as Governor General in 1798 by Richard Wellesley, known at the time as Lord Mornington, who was the older brother of the future Duke of Wellington.59 Wellesley had entered politics at a young age, taking a seat in the Irish House of Lords in 1781 at the tender age of 21. His ambitious personality and close friendship with William Pitt and Henry Dundas secured him first appointment to the East India Company's Board of Control in 1793, and later the Governor Generalship in 1798.
Anne Joseph Hyppolite Malartic. Proclamation at the Isle of France. 30 January 1798 Arthur Wellesley, the famed Duke of Wellington, came along with his brother to India as a military officer, staying overseas from 1797-1804. He commanded several battles in both the Fourth Mysore War and the Second Maratha War, and was present at Seringapatam when the city was captured.
A born autocrat who sharply disagreed with Shore's management of India, Wellesley had an aggressive, expansionistic view of what the Company's role in India should be, with the goal of extending British rule over as much of the subcontinent as possible. He did not subscribe to the older view of the Company as a trading entity which only possessed territory to facilitate commerce, but saw it instead as a sovereign power forming the basis of a new empire in the East.60 Wellesley sought to solve the problem of India's chronic instability by outright annexing the weakest of the states allied with the Company, and warring against the remaining powerful independent states of Mysore and the Marathas. Wellesley was notorious for his arrogance and difficulty in dealing with others, and he made no attempt to follow the instructions of the Company's Directors, being contemptuous of the commercial elements within London's India House.61 The new Governor General had little interest in turning a profit or keeping military expenditures low, and instead was determined to eliminate all French influence from India to secure British rule. The increasingly imperial style of Wellesley's administration was another demonstration of the Company's changing role as the eighteenth century came to a close. The Company may have been a political entity from the very start, but the accession of men like Wellesley into positions of leadership demonstrated how the British state and the traditional landed elements within British society were in the process of conquering the Company.62 Edward Ingram (ed.) Two Views of British India: The Private Correspondence of Mr. Dundas and Lord Wellesley, 1798-1801 (Bath: Adams & Dart, 1969) William Dalrymple. White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth Century India (New York: Viking, 2003): 45-46 Philip Stern. The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundation of the British Empire in India (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011) Although it has been argued by some historians that Wellesley simply reacted to events as they took place, a closer reading of the sources suggests that he already had a clear plan for India in mind before arriving, one which was bent on further expansion and conquest.63 Henry Dundas and the Company's Board of Control in London were much more concerned than Wellesley about the threat posed by France; they were prepared to sanction Wellesley's wars in India, but only insofar as they achieved the goal of protecting British India from the French threat. These two motives overlapped at times, but they were not the same.64 The Company's administration in London was not interested in further wars of conquest in India, and insisted that any military conflicts should be defensive in nature. Wellesley would have to be very careful about shaping the context of the Fourth Mysore War such that it would meet this requirement of defensive warfare. Adding urgency to the situation was the departure of a French naval expedition from Toulon in late May 1798. The result would be Napoleon's ill-fated Egyptian invasion, but the destination of this force was not immediately known at the time, and there was much anxiety that the French were planning to land in India. The context of this threat posed by France was crucial in understanding how Wellesley chose to approach his dealings with Tipu Sultan.
Wellesley's view of the situation in India was strikingly different from that of the Directors, and geared towards bringing about offensive operations as soon as possible.